Rob Meyer has been working with a volunteer orgnaization in Ecuador for two years and offers some great advice in his recent article, “How to Actually ‘Make a Difference’ as a Foreign Volunteer: 11 tips,” featured on the site he created for responsible travel in Ecuador: www.theecuatraveler.com. From seemingly obvious pre-departure tips like “learn the language,” “volunteer as long as possible,” and “be knowledgeable about the region and host organization,” to nitty-gritty in-country advice like “Take time to actively learn how the organization runs and how things function in this part of the world,” this piece is a must-read for anyone about toÂ take their good intentions on the road.
Personally, after my volunteer trips to Central America last March and my volunteer honeymoon last year, I’m still working on the “back home” tips from Rob’s article, such as “don’t forget about your experience,” and “talk about your volunteer experience with others.” This can often be the most difficult part, in my experience, because people don’t always want to hear about your trip. This is no excuse. The responsibility is on you to present your trip in a way that will pique their interest and hopefully teach them something.
Check out the other great Ecuador and volunteer articles on this site. Thanks, Rob!